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Acceptable Use of Computer Resources

Approved: VP for Information Technology Date Established: 6/30/2014

Responsible Office: Information Technology Services

Date Last Revised: 12/31/2014
Responsible Executive: Information Security Director, VP for Information Technology

Smith College requires that any person who uses its information technology resources and services must do so in a responsible and ethical manner, abiding by all applicable laws, regulations and policies.

This policy affects all people using information technology resources and services provided by the institution, regardless of their individual affiliation. 

Smith College provides information technology resources to students, faculty, staff, guests, and other members of the college community for support of its general academic mission. These resources may only be used for lawful purposes, and in a manner consistent with college policies and codes of conduct.  These resources include authenticated access to college electronic services, including: access to college-owned computers and electronic devices; local and Internet network access;  network file storage; electronic mail (e-mail); phone service and voice mail; licensed software; electronic media content; library electronic resources; and other network-based services. The college has established standards and policies for the acceptable use of these resources and expects users to be familiar with and honor them.

In addition, members of the Smith College community may have access to third-party electronic resources through their affiliation with the college, including the resources of the other institutions of Five Colleges, Inc. (Amherst College, Hampshire College, Mount Holyoke College, and the University of Massachusetts Amherst). Use of these resources by members of the Smith College community is governed by this Acceptable Use Policy and also by any applicable policy or restriction of the third-party provider.

Specific Considerations for this Policy:

Actions prohibited by legal or regulatory agencies, and / or this Acceptable Use Policy or the institutional policies of Smith College include but are not limited to:

Legal and Regulatory Acceptable Use Restrictions:

Institutional Acceptable Use Restrictions:

Account Use and Information Access Restrictions:

Electronic Communications Restrictions:

Network Use Restrictions:

Additional Considerations for this Policy:

Although all members of the community have a reasonable expectation of privacy, the college reserves the right to examine material stored on or transmitted through its resources, such as computer disk drives, network drives, e-mail, voicemail, portable devices, other electronic storage media, and institutionally contracted information technology services, if there is cause to believe that the standards for acceptable and ethical use are being or have been violated, or when it has a legitimate work-related need to do so;  and to preserve the contents in response to litigation hold requests, potential legal claims, subpoenas, or other investigations. The College also reserves the right to disclose the contents to law enforcement officials.

The Vice President for Information Technology or the Director of Information Security with appropriate consultation must review and approve in advance any request for access to the contents of electronic files or folders on institutional information technology resources without the consent of the user.

Students, faculty and staff who use their personal computer, portable electronic device, portable memory media, or other electronic devices for college-related business may be required to provide access to intact business-related information and possibly the devices themselves when the college has a legally-required reason.

The college reserves the right to access the contents of students' electronic files during the course of an investigation and to disclose the contents during student conduct proceedings.

Violations of this policy and related college policies should be brought to the attention of policy’s Responsible Executive, and are adjudicated according to procedures outlined in the Student Handbook and the Staff Handbook, with disciplinary consequences imposed by the adjudicating authority up to and including dismissal.  Some offenses are punishable under state and federal laws.

These definitions apply to terms as they are used in this policy.

Classified  information:

For this policy, “classified information” refers to any institutional information that has been classified by the information owner as requiring some level of access protection or privacy protection.

Protected Information:

For this policy, “protected information” refers to information that is explicitly protected by state or federal law, and specifically MA GL 93H / MA 201 CMR 17.


“Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol” – standard service that issues a network address to a device when it attaches to the local network.

Procedures for compliance:

Departments must ensure that internal procedures support compliance with this policy. Review and approval of internal procedures by the policy administrator is recommended.


Related Policies:

ITS Policies:
General collection of ITS policies and procedures

Account Password & Security Policy:
Smith’s central user ID account security

Electronic Commerce Procedures:
Use of credit cards for online transaction processing

Electronic Mail Policy:
Appropriate use of Smith College email services

Additional Resources:

Smith College Code of Conduct:
Guidance for professional conduct for all faculty, staff and students

Staff Handbook:
General information all staff members should know

Student Handbook:
General information all students should know

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